Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Guriyai
A Reveiw by Gurcharan Singh*
Author: Dr Rajinder Singh
Published by: Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, Model Town
Extension, Ludhiana 141002
Pages : 72; price Rs 20/-; Paperback
Edition: Sep 2008
This booklet is not just an account of decision by Guru
Gobind Singh to endow Guruship to Sri Guru Granth Sahib
as Eternal Shabad Guru after him, but much more. The author
calls it a summary of mean and dirty effort to tamper with
the history of gurgaddi to Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In reality
it refers to the beliefs of the Namdhari sect who have broken
away from the Sikh mainstream and have started to follow
personal Gurus and not Guru Granth Sahib as ordained by
the Tenth Master.
In almost three hundred years after Guru Gobind Singh ji,
Sikhs have never had any doubt as to who is their Guru.
Guru Granth Sahib is so much intervowen in our life itself.
From birth till death we remember the Guru and go back to
the shabad, the bani and take recourse to words of advice,
courage, and solace in happiness or adversity. This is because
the tenth Master advised us that Guru Granth is Guru Roop,
the spirit of all the ten Masters.
The facts of Guru Gobind Singh’s death on 7th Oct,
1708 and before it, ceremony of anointing Guru Granth Sahib
as eternal Guru have been reported by many historians, Persian,
Punjabi, Urdu and English. The first is Guru’s court
poet Sainapat’s book Gur Sobha, completed around 1711
AD, i.e., within three years of Guru Gobind Singh’s
death, which confirms this. The official records of Mughal
Emperor Bahadur Shah who had just moved to Hyderabad say
in the newsletter of 30th Oct, 1708 that ‘it is ordered
that on the death of Nanak-panthi Guru, his adopted son
Ajit Singh be sent a robe of condolence.’ Another
Persian writing, Danishmand Khan’s ‘Bahadur-nama’
also says that. On 11th Nov, 1708 when an official put up
to the King as to how the property of the Guru be disposed
off/acquired by the state? Orders were “The property
belongs to a holy person (darvesh), this won’t add
much to the state’s treasure. So no hindrance be created.”
The author has quoted many other contemporary writings.
A Bhatt Vahi Taonda, Pargna Jind of 5th Katak 1765 Bikrami
says about Guru Gobind Singh’s death at Nanded and
(Guru) Granth to be the Guru in his place. As per his instructions
whosoever will believe this, his devotion will be recognized.
This should be taken as the truth. Rehatnamas of Bhai Nandlal,
Bhai Chaupa Singh, Amar Nama of Dhadi Natthmal also confirm
Guryai given to Guru Granth Sahib.
In order to trace trends of beliefs of Namdhari sect, a
brief history of the movement has to be understood.
After death of the tenth Master and later supreme sacrifice
of Banda Bahadur, the era of persecution, torture and sacrifices
of Sikhs started, which lasted almost for fifty five years.
With the downfall of the Mughal empire and rise of Misls,
an era of political power, wealth and comfort started. Along
with it came the ills of life of abundance extravagance,
luxury, drinking, drugs and departure from the disciplined
life of Gurmat. The Sikhs went back to brahminical rituals,
caste system, worship of various deities, samadhs, graves,
etc. To counter these, the reformist movements of Nirankaris
and Namdhharis took birth during Sikh raj itself in the
north-west of Punjab. Their aim was to bring back old simplicity,
devotion, high morals and adherence to Sikhi in puritan
The founder of Namdhari movement, Baba Balak Singh was born
near Attok in1785. He came in touch with Bhagat Jawahar
Mal, a saintly person, and got immersed in meditation and
kirtan, and his reputation spread. This group gave rise
to the Namdhari sect. There were three missionary centers,
Amritsar, Hazro, and Bhaini Sahib, Ludhiana Distt. When
in 1862 he died, Baba Ram Singh, head of Bhaini Sahib center
was unanimously chosen to head Namdhari Movement.
Baba Ram Singh was born on Feb3, 1816 in Bhaini Raiyan,
in a Ramgarhia family, had religious leanings right from
childhood. At the age of 21 he joined the Khalsa army during
Maharaja Sher Singh’s time. During a move towards
Peshawar, he met Baba Balak Singh. He was so impressed by
him that he became his disciple. Soon he left his job and
spent his time in nam simran and spreading ideas of his
mentor. When Baba Balak Singh died in 1826, he was made
the head of the sect. It is mentioned that his followers
believed in Guru Granth as their scripture, wear white dress,
straight turban, carry lathis, woolen rosary and use a watch-word
Baba Ram Singh was pained at annexation of Punjab. He did
not want his followers to use English schools, courts, dak
system, foreign clothes, etc. Secret service started keeping
an eye on him and his followers called Kukas. He was interned
in Bhaini Sahib. Kukas were so much influenced by his leadership
that they started believing him as Avtar of Guru Gobind
Singh and spread stories that he would bring revolution
and establish Khalsa Raj. Such stories were included in
a book called ‘Sau Sakhi,’ supposedly including
prophecies of Tenth Master. They started addressing Baba
Ram Singh as Guru, which he did not like and forbade it.
Kukas were fanatically opposed to killing cows.On 14th June,1870
some persons killed 4 butchers in Amritsar and again on
15th July 1871 killed 3 in Raikot. For this 4 Kukas and
again 5 Kukas were hanged and one punished with life term.
Large numbers collected at Bhaini in Maghi of 1872 to have
path in their memory. Most of them dispersed but about 100
hot-heads collected to loot arms and do mischief. Baba Ram
Singh pleaded with them not to create any ugly situation
but they disregarded his instructions. Two incidents of
skirmishes happened one at Malaud and another at Malerkotla
in which a kotwal and some policemen were killed and some
injured, and arms looted. This news reached the DC Ludhiana,
Mr Cowen. He was enraged; he called help from Jallundur
& adjoining states, moved cannons from Ambala and without
waiting for Commissioner, Ambala, rigged up 7 cannons in
parade ground at Malerkotla, blew up 49 Kukas. Commissioner
Forsith ordered and brought Babaji from Bhaini to Ludhiana,
recorded his statement and ordered his exile to Rangoon,
where the last Mughal emperor was imprisoned. Ten Kukas
were also exiled. Cowen blew up further 16 at Malerkotla
with the Commissioner’s approval. Baba Ram Singh lived
up to 1885. Kukas used to go and meet him in spite of many
hurdles and bring his letters to his younger brother Hari
Singh and others. In 1940, Sant Tehal Singh published these
as “Hukamname Baba Ram Singh ji de.’’
In these he clearly mentioned that … “I am not
a Guru, I am only a hukmi banda, people have unnecessarily
dragged me into this….After ten patshahian Guru Granth
is the Guru, there is none else…I am not a Guru, I
am like a kukar (dog) at his door… remember Guru’s
words, Granth Sahib is Gurus’ body… etc etc.’’
For some time, Hari Singh headed the Namdhari samprday.
When he died in1908 his son, Baba Partap Singh succeeded
him. He lived up to 1959. Now his son Maharaj Jagjit Singh
is their head.
Although many followers of Baba Ram Singh had started calling
him ‘Guru’, he never liked it, he condemned
it in his Hukamnamas. But during Baba Partap Singh’s
time, in the third decade of the twentieth century, his
parcharaks Nidhan Singh Alam and Inder Singh Chakravarty
caused a sensation in the Sikh Panth by announcing that
Guru Gobind Singh gave gurgaddi to Baba Balak Singh and
not Guru Granth Sahib. To establish their claim they concocted
an unbelievable story.! This theme is continuing even now.
In their story they say that Guru Gobind Singh did not have
last days in Nanded but went away in-cognito and lived secretly
in Punjab, till Baba Balak Singh grew up young. In 1812
after giving gurgaddi to Baba Balak Singh ,Guru Gobind Singh
breathed his last at the age of 146 years!
Can any body believe that a dynamic personality like the
Tenth Master will remain hidden during the most diffcult
days of the Panth, or later during ascendancy of the Misls
and the Sikh Raj, and not surface up to guide them or lead
It may be understandable if any new religious group calls
their head a Guru on his own merits; but to twist history
and call some person their Guru in continuation with First
to Tenth masters of Sikhs is too much!!
This book enlightens us about the facts behind the Namdhari
movement as it stands today and is useful information for
all, including historians.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies,
2007, All rights reserved.